Veterinary nurse

Veterinary nurses support vets by caring for sick and injured animals.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £26,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You must have a Level 3 diploma in veterinary nursing or a foundation degree or degree in veterinary nursing. You must also register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

It can help if you volunteer at a local vet, kennels or animal charity.

2. Skills required

To become a veterinary nurse, you'll need:

  • the ability to handle animals in a calm, confident manner
  • the ability to deal tactfully and sympathetically with pet owners
  • administration and IT skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • speaking to animal owners to find out the problem
  • taking blood and urine samples from animals
  • taking x-rays
  • preparing animals for treatment and assisting vets during treatment
  • giving injections, medication and carrying out minor procedures like removing stitches
  • talking to pet owners about how to care for their animals
  • taking care of in-patient animals
  • supervising and helping train other assistants
  • updating records

You'll need concern for animal welfare without being too sentimental. In smaller practices you may also work on reception.

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £20,000

Experienced: £21,000 to £24,000

Highly Experienced: £26,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, with some evenings and weekends.

You'll usually get a uniform and protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With further studies you could become a lecturer or researcher.

Last updated: 11 October 2016